Politics & Government

The North Dakota Legislature is being asked to include “sexual orientation” in its laws dealing with discrimination.

The bill was introduced in the Senate -- and has sponsors in both houses.

"Passage of this bill will insure we're looking out for all families in our state, and guaranteeing that they are comfortable enough in their living spaces and work spaces to be who they truly are," said Rep. Kylie Oversen (D-Grand Forks). "This legislation is a business issue, and, more importantly, a family issue."

Sales taxes for school buildings

Jan 21, 2013

A State Senate committee is looking at a proposal to allow a local school district to levy a sales tax for building projects – if 60 percent of the voters approve.

The effort came from Williston – where voters overwhelmingly turned down a 55-million dollar bond issue for two new school buildings. Williston School Superintendent Viola LaFontaine told the Senate Education Committee – people in Williston did not want to pay more in property taxes. But she says a number of people have told her they would support a sales tax.

A State Senator there should be legislative review of initiated measures that have a financial impact on the state.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

"Today is a little bit like preparing for a piano recital with only two weeks of lessons."

That’s how new Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak described her first PSC meeting. Fedorchak was appointed by Governor Dalrymple to take the place of Kevin Cramer, who was elected to Congress. Fedorchak says the PSC has a lot to do with both the energy industry and the agriculture industry.

Minot lawmaker proposes gradual oil tax reduction

Jan 17, 2013

A Minot lawmaker has introduced a bill to simplify – and potentially lower – oil taxes.

The bill – introduced by Republican Representative Roscoe Streyle  – would tie the rate of the oil extraction tax to production benchmarks. The current extraction tax is 6.5 percent. Streyle’s bill would reduce that to 6 percent – if production reaches 800,000 barrels a day. It would go down to 5.5 percent at 900,000 barrels, 5 percent at 1.1 million barrels, 4.5 percent at 1,250,000 barrels, and 4 percent at 1.5 million barrels.

House member wants a later start to the school year

Jan 16, 2013

A western North Dakota lawmaker says school starts too early.

Rep. Mike Schatz (R-New England) has introduced a bill to prevent school from starting before the last Monday of August. Schatz would also prohibit sports training from starting before the third Thursday in August. He says he has always been opposed to starting school or practice in early August.

"It's too warm," said Schatz. "There's a risk of heat stroke. You're using up the best month of the year to both play sports, especially football, and start school."

Cutting gasoline taxes?

Jan 16, 2013

A state lawmaker is proposing cutting North Dakota's gasoline tax in half.

The current tax is 23 cents a gallon. Rep. Lawrence Klemin (R-Bismarck) would cut that to 11 cents.

"The idea is to get some kind of immediate tax relief back to the taxpayer, rather than having to wait until they get the tax bill on their home, or they pay their income taxes," said Klemin. “This would be effective every day. And I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of vehicles there are in North Dakota, but virtually everyone would have some benefit immediately through this bill.”

Tougher DUI laws may be on the way in ND

Jan 14, 2013

Several legislators are proposing making drunk driving laws tougher.

Rep.resentative Ed Gruchalla (D-Fargo) says his DUI bill is ready to be introduced.

Under his bill, the first offense would carry a $5000fine. Gruchalla says half of that would be refunded – if the driver puts in an ignition interlock device in the car. That device would prevent the car from starting – if the driver is drunk.

VandeWalle asks for three new judges

Jan 10, 2013

North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle is making a plea for three more district judges.

Vandewalle told the Legislature – in his State of the Judiciary Address – the northwest part of North Dakota needs two more judgeships, and Cass County would get the third.

State of State address

Jan 8, 2013